File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

Dirco fires chief financial officer over R118m New York land purchase deal

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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Pretoria - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has terminated the services of its chief financial officer, Caiphus Ramashau, following a R118 million New York deal to buy land which didn’t exist.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the “unsuccessful project” was meant to purchase a piece of land in New York to accommodate South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and New York Consulate.

“This (termination of working relationship) follows the conclusion of the disciplinary case instituted against him.

’’Mr Ramashau faced charges related to irregular expenditure incurred by the department on an unsuccessful project to purchase a piece of land in New York (USA) to accommodate South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and New York Consulate,” said Monyela.

Last month, Dirco rubbished the Democratic Alliance’s allegation that Minister Naledi Pandor lied to Parliament’s international relations and co-operation portfolio committee about the finalisation of the department’s report on the R118 million New York land project.

Pandor’s spokesperson, Lunga Ngqengelele, said the DA’s allegation about Pandor was proof that the party lacked understanding about the department’s internal processes.

“It is nonsense that the minister lied to Parliament’s portfolio committee. All the minister said was that the report was not finalised and she had also indicated that the portfolio committee would be given the report once it was complete.”

Ngqengelele responded to the DA after the party released a statement alleging that Pandor had lied to the committee when she said her investigation report into the R118m in irregular expenditure on the New York Pilot Project was not yet complete.

In 2019, during former Dirco minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’s tenure, Parliament's international relations and co-operation portfolio committee discovered that taxpayers’ money was spent on a piece of land in New York.

A committee delegation went to New York to inspect the land, only to find an old, dilapidated building. The wasteful purchase was reportedly made to accommodate South Africa's diplomats.

Following an investigation by Dirco, Ramashau was suspended in connection with the wasteful expenditure on the non-existent land deal.

IOL

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